I’ve moved to a new website at www.joshuagrantbooks.com. From now on, I will only be using that website and I will no longer update my blog here. I encourage you to go to the new website and sign up for email updates, that way you can learn about new blogs I post or future books that I’ll be releasing.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about people thinking the rise in popularity of eBooks and eBook readers (such as the Amazon Kindle) are heralding the end to the paperback book. As an owner of many paperback books myself as well as an Amazon Kindle, I can understand the good and bad points of both.
Paperback books became successful in 1935 when Penguin Books (for those who read, the name is undoubtedly familiar) started with just 10 reprinted titles of previous books. Booksellers were apprehensive at first to purchase them due to the low quality of the materials used to make them. However, this was done on purpose to keep the prices down and to make them appeal to a much broader audience. Over time, the trend of paperbacks caught on and up until very recently they were often the preferred format in which to purchase a book.
With the rise of many popular eBook readers in the past few years, publishers have seen the sales of their paperbacks declining much more rapidly. Many of these publishers think this is a signal that the end is coming for printed books and print media in general, but I don’t believe this is the case.
In regards to printed books, I absolutely love them. Something about reading a good book and smelling the freshly-printed pages while curled up on your couch is really comforting. For a long time, I was a holdout on purchasing an eBook reader. I was what many call a “purist”, and among other things I reasoned that my books would be around for a long time whereas an electronic reading device would break down much more quickly.
However, as my collection of books grew larger and I had to put many of them into storage, I realized that it was time to start considering the alternative. I just didn’t have room for all those books anymore, plain and simple. When I purchased my first eBook reader (in my case, the Amazon Kindle) I was a little resistant to becoming comfortable with it. Over time, that changed. The factors that made me grow to like them were the extremely long battery life (a couple of weeks, on average), the ability to download and immediately start reading a new book when my current book was finished, and the fact that it was lightweight and easily portable.
Currently, I have a few hundred books on my Kindle which I have been building up over the past 2 or 3 years. Unless there is some kind of collector’s edition of a book I like or if a book just isn’t available as an eBook, I will likely continue purchasing eBooks until whatever succeeds the eBook format comes out. For those of you out there still holding onto your printed books, I say to take the plunge… you will not be disappointed.
As for those that think paperbacks are going the way of the dinosaur, I think they are also wrong. There will always be those out there that prefer printed books and that are not as easily swayed as I was. Sure, sales may dip a little, but I doubt paperbacks (or printed books in general, for that matter) will disappear anytime soon. The day that happens (if that day ever comes), will certainly be both a disappointment at what has been lost while at the same time being the next step forward in our evolution as a society.
If you’re into science fiction (and even if you’re not), and you haven’t heard of this book yet, you probably will soon. Before I review the book, I want to make a quick mention about the author. He is probably one of the best examples of what good things can happen for an author if you put time and effort into your book (both ability to write and marketing). He started off as a self-publisher on amazon.com with this book. It became so popular that traditional publishers started to take notice and show an interest in his book. Now he makes about as much money as any other well-known author, and he’s even had the movie rights to this book purchased by Ridley Scott (director of movies such as “Alien” and “Gladiator”). Anyway, on to the book review.
Many people might give it a glance at first but nothing further, considering it’s only about 68 pages long (it’s sequels are considerably longer). Those few pages, however, are filled with literary gold!
Imagine growing up in a world where the entirety of recorded history is only a few hundred years old, every past before that having been destroyed in a revolt, to protect you from the knowledge of your ancestor’s former actions. Trapped in a underground complex that extends several tens of stories deep, and unable to bring forth new life or even have a romantic relationship unless you win a lottery. The outside world is toxic and corrosive to such an extent that, fully exposed, you would last only a few seconds outside before being eaten away by the atmosphere. All of this desolation can be seen through a sensor array that sits on the surface and sends a video feed to a large monitor in the underground complex. Make a bad enough mistake or simply state you want to be free from your underground prison and you are sent outside to your death to clean those sensors with wool, so that everyone has a clear view of a world they should never have any desire to explore. And no matter how much people protest their fate or state they will not ever clean the sensors, they always do.
This is the world of Holston and his wife Allison, who are fortunate enough to win the lottery granting them a year to conceive a child. But during that year Allison uncovers truths about previous uprisings. She uncovers complex computer programs and secrets of previous generations which make her question her reality and her culture. She questions whether or not she wants to continue her existence in what very well may be a lie.
I am not overstating the fact when I say that if you like the genre and haven’t yet purchased this book, you are really missing out on something awesome. Better yet, you should buy the book even if you don’t like science fiction. This book could quite possibly get you interested in it. One word of advice… DON’T SKIP TO THE ENDING. I know some readers like to do that sometime. But really, the ending is so awesome that if you do that you will really hate yourself for ruining the story.
Robopocalypse is set in a world where artificial intelligence has taken over basically anything with a computer in it. Through (usually) first-person narratives, we learn that a super-intelligent computer named Archos has managed to turn machines against mankind. Cars kill their occupants by crashing, while at the same time trying to run down as many people as possible. Domestic robots go on murderous rampages against those that own them. Even basic household appliances go crazy.
The humans don’t go down without a fight, but because of having depended on technology so much their “defense” it quite weak. Archos learns and adapts at a fast rate, putting most of humanity into labor camps while creating ever-new robots to explore and dominate the rest of the world. “Rob,” as this technology is collectively known, seeks to rid earth of the disease known as people.
Much of the book focuses on bands of survivors and how they end up uniting to fight Archos at his home base in Alaska.
Overall, the book was excellent. It was told in a style similar to the book “World War Z”, which I found to be a good format. The characters were compelling, and the stories (and how they came together in the end) were engaging. This is a great addition to the science fiction genre and I would suggest it to anyone who likes sci-fi.
Within the next few months I will be looking to hire a web designer to help me put together an author website for myself (I’ve already bought the domain name). If anyone is in that field, or they know someone good that is, please let me know. :)